HC Deb 20 January 1986 vol 90 cc17-8
25. Mr. Freud

asked the Minister for the Arts what is his current estimate of the shortfall in arts funding for 1986–87 in the light of the abolition of the Greater London council and metropolitan counties; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Luce

There should be no shortfall. I am making £25 million available to the Arts Council for post-abolition funding in 1986–87. It is reasonable that the rest of the GLC and metropolitan counties' spending should be taken up by successor authorities, which will be relieved of substantial precepts.

Mr. Freud

I am grateful for that reply. Does the right hon. Gentleman realise the extent to which uncertainty exacerbates the misery of arts establishments? Will he address his mind to the fate of the Greater London research library, which has been funded by the GLC and has two months of funding to go but still has had no statement about its future?

Mr. Luce

Of course I am aware of the problem of uncertainty, and that was why I tried to make an early announcement about central Government funding to deal with abolition problems. It is now up to successor authorities to play their part, and I am glad that Westminster borough council is setting a lead in that respect. The library is principally a matter for the Department of the Environment. I understand that the London Residuary Body is discussing with the London boroughs proposals for the continuation of a Londonwide service.